Somalia, my motherland, my destiny. Yes, I am a Somali and proud of it. No, I am not supportive of subjugation, of enabling patriarchy, of hiding misogyny in the name of tradition and because it will soil ‘our image’.
I love Somalia but I have a huge problem with patriarchy and its manifestations in our societies. Does highlighting the shortcomings of patriarchy and misogyny take away my Somaliness? Does it make me a traitor? I don’t think so. Does my Somaliness reduce yours? Does it threaten yours? If it does, then that is something way beyond my control.
By the way, how do you even define Somaliness? What criteria are you using? If your criteria were to be used, you would be the first one not to qualify as a Somali. You’re not dark enough, man enough, religious enough, tall enough, skinny enough, fat enough, orally gifted enough, shifty enough, to be a SOMALI.
No one has the right to define who is a Somali and who is not. We are all Somalis irregardless of whether we are in Somalia or in the Diaspora. We are Somalis regardless of whether we are liberals, religious, feminists, agnostics or secularists.
Somalia does not need divisive politics, bickering and sly labelling. We have enough of that going on already.
Not all Somalis who blog get paid. We, including myself, do it because we are passionate about Somalia and believe in its potential. In its greatness. For Somalia to reach that greatness, it needs a fundamental transformation and one way of doing that is through sparking social change.
My contribution to this social change is by blogging. However, choosing to do this does not make me any less of a Somali than you.
Are you contributing positively? Do you get paid for doing it? Good for you.
Are you from the Diaspora but in Somalia and yet enjoying the privilege that label gives you? Good for you. Let me get this. Your family is living in the West, supported by their governments and you’re in Somalia biting the hand that feeds you. Yes, that hand continues to feed you as long as your family is on the dole. It continues to feed you as long as you’re reaping the fruits of their education.
You’re bitter because you failed in the West? Well, whose fault is that?
When did the West become a problem for you? Was it before or after you got educated by their taxpayers? When did Somalis in the West become your enemies? Please take your double standards elsewhere.
But that does not give you the right to insult, label and threaten people on social media. It certainly does not give you the right to invade their FB walls and to frog dance all over it. This behaviour on social media is a disgrace to all Somalis. Especially to the Diaspora Somalis whose identity you also represent.
So yes, I am a Somali and proud of it. I am a Somali even though I have an Arabic name. I am a Somali even if a don’t speak or write a word in Somali. I am a Somali because I self-identify as such.
My kids, all four of them, are Somalis regardless of being born in the Diaspora. They identify themselves as Somalis despite having never visited it. Somalia is in our blood. In our marrow. In our heart. That can never be taken away. That can never be negated. Nullified. So deal with it.
”Comrades… Down with imperialism!
Down with colonialism! Down with neo-colonialism!
Comrades, down with bad husbands! Down with lazy bums! Down with thieves!
Down with shifty-eyed owls! Down with puffed up guinea fowls!
Down with double-shelled tortoises! Down with acrobatic chameleon!
Fatherland or Death, we shall overcome!”
– National Council of the Revolution, 4 August 1983 – 15 October 1987
(This is a living text which keeps on evolving)